Missing the Point

I got an interesting peice of mail yesterday from a bill collecting agency hired by my apartment complex.&nbsp  The amount due was more than $2,000, but it wasn’t until after I opened the letter — and after the moment of initial shock — that I realized that the bill was addressed to someone else!

Someone else who, apparently, once lived at my address.

I’ve had the displeasure of having businesses get a wrong address before: it takes months for them to get it straight if you don’t stay after them.&nbsp  Stamping “No Such Addressee” on the envelope doesn’t help; I’ve tried.

So I called the number listed for this national debt collection agency.&nbsp  The man on the other end answered with a simple, “Hello.”&nbsp  No name of business, nothing.&nbsp  Just hello.

I explained that I had received a letter at my address that was addressed to someone else, and that I wanted to let them know that there was no such person living at this address.

The guy said, “So you’re telling me that you opened someone else’s mail?”&nbsp  Way to miss the point that the letter his little company sent was misdirected.&nbsp  Let’s stick to the real problem here, shall we?

I resisted, though I’m not sure how I resisted, the temptation to begin my response with the words, “Look, jerk…” and said, “Yes, I sure did.&nbsp  I was going through my mail and paying bills and frankly, I didn’t look at the name until I had already opened it.&nbsp  But it did come to my address.&nbsp  It’s not like I raided a neighbor’s mailbox out of boredom.”

“Do you see the account number?”

Oh, I thought, so now it’s suddenly okay that I opened “someone else’s” mail now that you actually need something!&nbsp  Funny how that works, isn’t it?

I gave him the number and he looked it up.&nbsp  He read back an address to me and asked if it was mine.&nbsp  It wasn’t.

He explained — get this! — that the guy’s address had apparently changed, so they sent this to the old one.

“So then you already knew that this was the wrong address when you mailed it?”&nbsp  Couldn’t let that one slide.

“Uh, yeah.&nbsp  That’s just a security precaution.&nbsp  You can discard the letter.”


From now on, I’ll be tempted never look at the name on a letter again.&nbsp  Out of spite.&nbsp  But I probably still will.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.


  • Chucker — this cracks me up. Maybe your vm message should say something about “this is NOT Mabel” or something. But jeeze, you guys are practically married now.

  • About twice a year I receive a message on my phone from a dentist confirming an appointment for a lady I do not know. The dentist is not identified so I can’t call and the caller ID is blocked.

    This has gone on for SEVEN YEARS.

    She has good dental health habits.

  • For almost a decade after moving into our current home we received mail, not only for the previous tenant, but also the one before that.

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